During the early part of the 20th century, Patek Philippe produced a small number of minute repeating wristwatches. To celebrate the company's 150th Anniversary in 1989, the firm produced a minute repeating wristwatch, the first to feature an automatic calibre. This innovation led to the development of the Reference 5013, the first minute-repeating wristwatch to feature an automatic movement combined with perpetual calendar with retrograde date indication.
The retrograde date hand moves along a 270 degree arc and at midnight of the last day of each month, it flies back to the first of the month. During this precisely controlled fly-back phase, the hand is disconnected from the drive train and is cleverly captured back on the 1st of the month to ensure it does not slip forward by a day.
The case of the Reference 5013 pays homage to one of the most important watches sold in recent auction history: no. 97589, the tonneau-form minute repeating wristwatch in yellow gold, made for Henry Graves, Jr. Sold by Sotheby's New York in June 2012 for nearly three million dollars. Another well-known example, no. 198.212, made in a platinum tortue case for Henry Graves, Jr., is illustrated in Huber, M. & Banbery, A., Patek Philippe Wristwatches, Second Edition, p.315, pl. 470a-d. This watch is exhibited in the Patek Philippe Museum.
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